Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Medical Marijuana against Pancreatic Cancer



I would like you to know about medical marijuana for cancer. In her late 30s, my wife was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, stage 4a. It was a 6 cm tumor that had grown around the hepatic artery and portal vein.

At first I thought marijuana was just for nausea caused by her chemo, but then I found a study in the journal Cancer Research (July 1, 2006). It showed that cannabinoids specifically fight pancreatic tumor cells.

I changed her diet and started her on a regimen and she is now cancer free. The regimen is being studied at the University of Wisconsin. I hope others can benefit from medical marijuana.





You should be wondering why I am bringing up this non-scientific, questionable statement from the message board, placing in the spotlight the illegal drug, which is prohibited by Federal Laws (creating legal controversies with some State Laws on Medical Marijuana). That is true, there are multiple anecdotal statements on the Web, referring to the miraculous cures for cancer. Most of them have no scientific proof, some may be as good as any placebo. However, Marijuana is different. There were multiple scientific researches over the centuries, in spite on the ban, supporting the viewpoint that its health benefits in fighting cancer cannot be simply waved.

Let’s review some recent studies on the matter of discussion.

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Complutense University in Spain, 2006

For example, in the recent 2006 trial, investigators at Complutense University in Spain and the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (INSERM) in France assessed the anti-cancer activity of cannabinoids in pancreatic cancer cell lines and in animals. Cannabinoid administration selectively increased apoptosis (programmed cell death) in pancreatic tumor cells while ignoring healthy cells, researchers found. In addition, "cannabinoid treatment inhibited the spreading of pancreatic tumor cells ... and reduced the growth of tumor cells" in animals.

National Cancer Institute, 2011

The statement is supported by the most widely recognized in the scientific community National Cancer Institute, whose 2011 study in mice and rats suggested that cannabinoids may have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. During this 2-year study, groups of mice and rats were given various doses of THC by gavage. A dose-related decrease in the incidence of hepatic adenoma tumors and hepatocellular carcinoma was observed in the mice. Decreased incidences of benign tumors (polyps and adenomas) in other organs (mammary gland, uterus, pituitary, testis, and pancreas) were also noted in the rats. In another study, delta-9-THC, delta-8-THC, and cannabinol were found to inhibit the growth of Lewis lung adenocarcinoma cells. In addition, other tumors have been shown to be sensitive to cannabinoid-induced growth inhibition.

It was suggested that Cannabinoids cause antitumor effects by various mechanisms, including induction of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their nontransformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death.

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, 2008

Investigators at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health reported in January 2008 that the administration of cannabinoids halts the spread of a wide range of cancers, including brain cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, pancreatic cancer, and lymphoma. The report noted that cannabis offer significant advantages over standard chemotherapy treatments because the cannabinoids in cannabis are both non-toxic and can uniquely target malignant cells while ignoring healthy ones.

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UCLA School of Medicine, 2005

This study is an interesting example of the results being not what was expected by the community. Dr. Donald Tashkin is a widely published pulmonologist who for three decades has conducted investigations for the National Institute of Drug Abuse and other government agencies on the adverse effects of marijuana and other drugs on the human body.

Studies conducted by Dr. Tashkin in 1990 found that marijuana smoke has almost the exact same carcinogens (cancer causing agents) as tobacco smoke and that the concentration of these carcinogens was exceedingly higher in marijuana smoke. These studies are the basis for the government's warning in thousands of ads that smoking one marijuana joint does as much damage as smoking four cigarettes.

Since it is well documented that the carcinogens in tobacco smoke are directly responsible for the development of lung cancer in tobacco smokers, government marijuana prohibitionists reasoned that marijuana smoke must also cause lung cancer because it contains even stronger concentrations of these cancer causing agents.

To document a connection between lung cancer and marijuana smoking, Dr. Tashkin received a very large grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. With over 2,200 subjects, the research was one of the largest case control studies of its kind ever!

It is not surprising that the government was not pleased with the obtained results and did its best to ignore them as Dr. Tashkin failed to find any link between smoking marijuana and the development of lung cancer. In almost every category studied, a person was no more likely to develop lung cancer if they smoked marijuana than if they didn't smoke marijuana.

Dr. Tashkin's study offers some evidence of what might be happening. In all the groups studied, the smoker of marijuana was no more likely to develop lung cancer than the non-smoker - save for one group in which there was a small, but still statistically significant difference. This was the group of people who only smoked marijuana and nothing else compared to people who did not smoke anything at all.

In this group of people the smokers of marijuana actually had a lower incidence of lung cancer than the people who did not smoke anything at all.

This makes no sense. How can people who are taking carcinogens directly into their lungs have a lower incidence of lung cancer than people who are not? It makes no sense unless perhaps the cannabinoids found in cannabis are such powerful anti-cancer agents that they can prevent the development of cancers even in the presence of cancer causing agents.

Data in Dr. Tashkin's study suggest that people who smoke marijuana are less likely to develop lung cancer than people who do not smoke anything at all. Since marijuana smoke contains the same cancer-causing agents as tobacco and the only difference between the nonsmokers and the marijuana smokers was their use of cannabis, then it is not an unreasonable hypothesis that marijuana can prevent the development of cancer.

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Other Studies

More than twenty major studies published between 2001 and 2006 have shown that the chemicals in cannabis known as cannabinoids have a significant effect fighting cancer cells. We now know cannabinoids arrest many kinds of cancer growths (brain, breast, leukemic, melanoma, phaeochromocytoma, et al.) through promotion of apoptosis (programmed cell death) that is lost in tumors, and by arresting angiogenesis (increased blood vessel production).

Recent scientific advances in the study of cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids have produced exciting new leads in the search for anti-cancer treatments.

There is growing evidence of direct anti-tumor activity of cannabinoids, specifically CB1 and CB2 agonists, in a range of cancer types including brain (gliomas), skin, pituitary, prostate and bowel. The antitumor activity has led in laboratory animals and in-vitro human tissues to regression of tumors, reductions in vascularisation (blood supply) and metastases (secondary tumors), as well as direct inducement of death (apoptosis) among cancer cells. Indeed, the complex interactions of endogenous cannabinoids and receptors are leading to greater scientific understanding of the mechanisms by which cancers develop.

The most interest part is that scientists have discovered that THC shrinks tumors as early as at the beginning of 70-s. In 1974 researchers at the Medical College of Virginia, who had been funded by the National Institute of Health to find evidence that marijuana damages the immune system, found instead that THC slowed the growth of three kinds of cancer in mice -- lung and breast cancer, and a virus-induced leukemia.

The DEA quickly shut down the Virginia study and all further cannabis/tumor research, according to Jack Herer, who reports on the events in his book, "The Emperor Wears No Clothes." In 1976 President Gerald Ford put an end to all public cannabis research and granted exclusive research rights to major pharmaceutical companies, who set out -- unsuccessfully -- to develop synthetic forms of THC that would deliver all the medical benefits without the "high."

Who knows, maybe if the research has been continued than, we would have already weapon against the cancer by today!

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Summary

Almost any cancer prevention by smoking pot – it is too good to be true. However, the positive magical effect of marijuana consumption is difficult to continue get ignored. While the future research is still needed, the fact that pot consumption has extremely low side effects makes it a very promising candidate for the anti-cancer breakthrough medication.

For those who are interesting on other health benefits of Cannabis, read my reviews on Alzheimer’s and Depression.



Sources and Additional Information:




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